Authors: Amylea Lyn
Aiden watched Cael tremble, and all he wanted to do was pull the poor guy into his arms. A single tear slipped down one pale cheek, and then Cael nodded.
Oh God, that explained the discomfort as Cael sat down.
Thinking back, he remembered lots of little things that he should have noticed before now. Bruises on a wrist, unease when sitting, fear of being touched; the list went on and on. Jesus, just the thought of this poor kid being hurt and raped made him so sick he had to fight the sobs
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that wanted to break free.
“I’m sorry…” a small voice whispered.
Aiden froze, glancing around. He hadn’t even noticed he’d been pacing and muttering to himself. Cael sat in the chair, knees tucked to his chest, shaking, and eyes wide with fear.
“What?” Aiden stopped moving and stared.
“I’m sorry,” Cael whispered, tears in his big, pretty eyes.
“I was bad; a bad boy. You’re mad. I wasn’t supposed to tell. I’m s-sorry…” The tears spilled over, running down his cheeks in earnest.
“No, God no, Cael. I’m not mad; well I’m mad, but not at you. This isn’t your fault. You’re not bad, the person who did this is, not you, never you.” Those tears didn’t slow one bit.
, Aiden decided. Striding over, he towered over Cael, and the kid’s eyes went wide. Before his psychiatric training could kick in and tell him what he was doing was wrong, he pulled the smaller man out of the chair and into his arms for a crushing hug.
Cael froze stiff for a moment, then something inside him seemed to break and he let out a small wail, wrapping his arms around Aiden’s middle and clinging to the older man like his life depended on it. Aiden just held him, humming softly, stroking a hand through the trembling boy’s hair.
“I won’t let them hurt you again,” he promised softly,
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cuddling the kid close, pouring all his care into that one hug. “I’ll take care of it, I promise.”
“The mean ones will be mad. Could hurt me again…” It was whispered into his neck, but Aiden heard. He also didn’t miss how Cael said, “mean ones” plural. Meaning more than one. Fuck! What had been going on in this hospital right under his nose?
“I’ll make sure your safe.” He placed a chaste kiss on the top of the soft, blonde head.
“Promise?” Cael asked, leaning back to look into his eyes. Green met violet, and a flash of heat traveled through both owners.
“I promise.” Aiden swore.
They stood that way until the end of the hour. Then, even though it was possibly the hardest thing he had ever had to do, he sent Cael and the sketchbook back to his room when the orderly, Josh, came to get him. Aiden couldn’t stop himself from watching suspiciously as Josh placed a hand on Cael’s shoulder to escort him out.
Waiting until the door shut, he told Megan to cancel and reschedule the rest of his appointments for the day, and then picked up the phone.
It rang three times before it was picked up and answered.
Hearing the sound of his lover’s voice was the catalyst
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to release all of Aiden’s carefully controlled anger. He was gritting his teeth so hard he could barely get Jake’s name out.
“Baby? What is it? Are you okay? Aiden, what’s wrong?”
“Jake. I’ve got a serious problem and need your help…”
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It took less than forty minutes for Jake to get to the hospital. Aiden sounded completely pissed on the phone, which alone was unusual. Aiden was one of the most calm and analytical people Jake knew, almost to the point of driving him insane. For Jake to get a call from his lover while on shift, asking for his help, was so far beyond normal it wasn’t even funny. Aiden was almost militant about not bringing his work life into their home life, so for him to do so meant something big was happening.
When he arrived, Aiden’s secretary, Megan, was pacing the outer office.
“He in?” Jake asked her. Megan nodded.
“He’s locked the door and canceled the rest of his appointments,” the young woman said in a worried rush.
“I could hear him in there pacing, ranting, and I think, possibly, crying. He’s been doing this ever since his last session.”
“Dr. Turner, its Officer Blackthorn, please unlock the door.” Jake’s voice was sure and confident; only Aiden would notice the slight tremor of worry he tried to hide.
Almost immediately, Aiden jerked it open, nearly dragging him inside.
Closing the door on Megan’s worried face, Jake clicked the lock. The moment he turned around, his arms were filled with a trembling, muttering lover.
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“Baby, what’s wrong?” Jake asked, wrapping his lover tightly in his arms. Aiden sank into his arms, sighing as Jake ran a comforting hand up and down his back.
“Calm down, baby. It’s okay. Calm down and tell me what’s wrong…”
Aiden nodded and leaned back, taking a deep breath and blowing it out slowly. “You’re right, I’m sorry. I just…I’ve never dealt with something like this before.”
Jake took Aiden’s hand and led him over to the chairs in the corner. Sitting down, he gathered Aiden into his lap.
“Tell me,” he said gently.
Aiden sighed, hanging his head. “You know my patient, Cael Sumner? The one I’ve been struggling to get through to?”
Jake nodded. “I didn’t know his name, but isn’t he the really quiet, young one?”
“Yeah.” Aiden took a deep breath. “I think someone here in the hospital is abusing him.”
Jake froze, completely stunned. An allegation of abuse was a serious thing; an allegation of abuse in a hospital was even more so.
Jesus, no wonder Aiden was upset
“You’re sure, Aiden? Something like this is not to be taken lightly.”
“Jake, you didn’t see him!” Aiden exploded, jumping
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off his lap and starting to pace again. His brown hair was wild, as if he had been running his hands through it, while his eyes were puffy. He looked kind of cute, in that totally helpless way, but Jake figured now definitely wasn’t the time to say that.
“The poor guy couldn’t even sit without wincing! At first, I thought nothing of it; maybe he was just uncomfortable with me. Then I saw the drawings, and I knew, Jake. He asked me for help! The kid finally speaks to me, and he asks me for help for something that should never have happened in the first place! What kind of therapist does that make me for not noticing?”
Jake was sure Aiden didn’t even realize he was yelling.
His lover just paced back and forth, completely frazzled.
Jake pushed his worry aside; it was time to deal with this situation like a cop would.
“Aiden, I need you to stop yelling. We do not want anyone to get any idea of what we’re doing before the investigation begins.” Jake stood and stopped Aiden with a hand on the shoulder and met his lover’s wild eyes. “This is not your fault. But there is a boy who needs us…so enough.”
Aiden looked into Jake’s eyes, searching for something; what, Jake wasn’t sure. Whatever it was, Aiden seemed to find it, for he calmed down immediately and nodded.
“You’re right, sorry.”
Jake grinned. “It’s okay, I know how invested you are in your patients. I would be freaking out just as much. Now I need to call my Captain, to report the crime. You need to call the nurses' station on Sumner’s floor and get all
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the night-time videos for the past week. Okay?”
“Right.” Aiden immediately walked over to his desk, calling the appropriate nurses station while Jake put a call into his police captain. After receiving the go ahead to take a preliminary statement and to keep the Captain informed, he and Aiden headed up to the nurses’ station on the fourth floor.
Jake followed along behind Aiden, mentally cataloging everything he saw, from a nurse delivering pills to an orderly walking away while talking on his cell phone.
Cell phones weren’t supposed to be used in the hospital, but Jake wasn’t going to stop and point it out to the man.
He had bigger worries right now.
The nurses turned out to be very cooperative and had the tapes waiting for them when they showed up. Popping in the first one from a week ago, Aiden pointed. “Cael’s door is the third down the hall. We don’t actually have cameras in the rooms, privacy issues, but we should be able to see who is coming and going.”
Jake nodded, and they got to work.
Fast forwarding through most of the tape, the first night revealed nothing. Bed checks by the nurses went off without a hitch, and there was no unauthorized activity outside Cael’s door. That wasn’t true for the second night.
A man appeared outside Cael’s door, looking like he was doing bed checks. That wouldn’t have been unusual if it weren’t for the fact that a nurse had done bed checks forty minutes before and the orderly had no flashlight.
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He entered the room, not coming out until twenty minutes later.
“Damn,” Aiden whispered, peering closer at the face on the screen. “That’s Max Haring. He’s been working here for almost ten years.”
Jake didn’t even want to think about the number of victims that ten years of unchecked accusations would bring.
There was nothing for the next two nights, then the night before last revealed two men entering the room. One was Max Haring; the other was an unknown male. This time they stayed in the room for over an hour, exiting right before second bed checks were done.
“Josh Simmons,” Aiden supplied. “Son-of-a-bitch was in my office not even two hours ago escorting Cael to his session. I thought there was something funny about the way he was touching Cael. Cael never lets anyone touch him.”
And now we know why
“As soon as the sex crimes unit gets here with a subpoena, we’ll take them ,” he told Aiden. “We might need to pull more when the time comes for an arrest.”
Aiden nodded. “I’ll give legal a heads up that it’s coming.”
“I need to speak with Sumner now,” Jake told him.
Aiden looked like he was going to protest, but Jake held up a hand to stall his argument. “Aiden, I need a formal
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complaint. Yours is a secondary account. I have to talk to the victim. Don’t worry, I’ll be gentle. I know how much this kid has come to mean to you.” Jake couldn’t help wondering about that.
“All right,” Aiden sighed. “It’s free time right now; we should be able to catch him in the common room.”
They left the nurses’ station, Aiden leading the way.
Jake stayed close, trying not to be noticed by the patients, but being in uniform that was pretty much impossible. He’d never tell Aiden, but he hated the hospital. It creeped him out. He didn’t know how Aiden worked here. He didn’t know how someone could live here. He didn’t even like visiting.
They finally reached the common room and peered inside. There were plenty of patients there, but no Cael.
“That’s odd. Normally all patients are in the common room for free time. Maybe he’s in his room?” Aiden headed back down the hall, and Jake got a nagging feeling in the back of his mind. Something didn’t feel right.
When they got to Cael’s room, the door was open and there was no one inside. Aiden huffed. “He should be here. He wasn’t scheduled for anything other than therapy today…” Aiden trailed off, and Jake looked at him questioningly. But Aiden didn’t notice.
He was too busy staring at the sketchbook sitting on the unmade bed.
“Jake, something’s wrong. Cael never goes anywhere
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without his sketchbook. It’s like his security blanket.”
He’d hardly finished before Jake rushed out of the room and to the nurses’ station.
“Your patient, Cael Sumner, where is he?” he asked the startled nurse.
The woman looked like she was about to refuse to answer when Aiden walked up. “He’s with me, Lucile.
Where’s Cael. It’s important we talk to him as soon as possible.”
She smiled even though her eyes showed her confusion.
“Max took him down for a walk in the garden. He said you, Dr. Turner, asked that Cael be allowed to get some fresh air.”
“Max? Max Haring?” Aiden asked. The nurse looked even more confused.
“Yes, he said you…”
“I said no such thing, Lucile.”
“I need you to call security and have them be on the lookout for Max Haring and Josh Simmons. They are to be detained for questioning and not allowed to leave the building.”
Lucile’s eyes widened. “Oh my God, what have they done? Yes, I’ll call security right now.” She grabbed the phone and started punching numbers.
“How long ago did they leave?” Aiden asked.
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“About five minutes ago,” Lucile replied, and then began barking orders over the phone.
“Aiden, where is the employee parking lot?” Jake asked.
“On the west side of the building, away from the street.”
Jake immediately took off, Aiden right behind him.
They rushed past staff, while Jake grabbed his radio and asked for back up, relating a possible abduction to the dispatch.
“The thing I don’t get,” Jake huffed as he ran, “is why they would wait until only five minutes ago to take the kid? We’ve been here for almost an hour.”
“Shift change,” Aiden replied. They slammed through a pair of double doors that led to the employee parking lot. “Security wouldn’t question it, and the nursing staff wouldn’t notice until later.”
Rounding the corner, Jake saw the same suspect from the video, Max Haring, holding an unconscious and limp man who he assumed was Cael Sumner, shoving smaller man in the back seat of a blue sedan. He motioned for Aiden to stay back and then cautiously approached the suspect.
“Max Haring, stop right there,” Jake called, pulling out his gun.
Max looked up, eyes wide, and lunged for the kid, pulling him back out of the car and using him as a shield.
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“Back off,” Max called, wrapping his forearm around the kid’s throat. The man looked completely frazzled, his eyes wild and dangerous.